Drug Tests for School Children Proposed by Education Minister

The country has witnessed unprecedented levels of murders, most of which involving young males as the victims and perpetrators.

Many have apportioned part of the blame to the school or education system within the country, arguing that the society has failed those students who may not have been as academically inclined as our youthful scholars.

Violence amongst school children has therefore become a worrying concern for all sectors of society and now the Minister of Education, Mr. Nigel Carty, is recommending new strategies that he hopes would succeed in combating the scourge of teenage violence.

Carty recently highlighted various challenges that are facing the Education sector, though he also pointed out that this has been so in the midst of a remarkable season of achievement, as an opportunity to make a positive difference.

Minister Carty noted that the incidence of violence and crime is an opportunity for the Ministry of Education and others in the society to play a pivotal role in ridding the country of this scourge. As such the Ministry has developed a multi-pronged violence prevention and mitigation program, directed by the newly recruited Research Psychologist in the Ministry, Dr. Tricia Esdaille.

The violence Prevention and mitigation Programme is now being piloted in five secondary schools in St. Kitts and Nevis. “Baseline data has been collected, teacher training workshops have begun and by the start of the new academic year, the classroom instruction phase will be in operation, “Minister Carty said.

Carty also explained that the Ministry would also be launching a consultation regarding drug testing in schools, which it is believed, has a lot to do with some of the unwanted behaviours that are being exhibited among youth.

“This measure is intended to detect early use of drugs and to provide early treatment and counseling, leading to the eventual reduction in drug use among students, and young people generally,” he explained.

Minister Carty revealed that the Ministry intends in short order to commence work, in collaboration with many organizational partners, on the development of curriculum material and instructional programs in drug awareness, drug abuse, bullying, gangs, civics, ethics, morality, and health and family life.

Commenting on the value system of today’s youth, the Minister said the focus must become one of raising self worth of young people.

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